Published Thursday, November 29, 2012

Better way to handle welfare

One of the main contentions between conservatives and liberals seems to be welfare payments and food stamps going to people who won’t work. I hope by now that the highly touted 47 percent figure has been totally debunked.

I agree that anyone who can work should work, but many receiving welfare benefits are deserving such as the physically disabled and mentally imcompetent. The main complaint seems to be over poor young single girls having babies they can’t afford or support. There’s the feeling that becoming dependent on welfare is harmful to the recipients in the long run because it dooms them to a lifetime of poverty and keeps them outside the mainstream of American life.

Maybe a new approach is needed, such as rewarding young girls for not having babies. This may not be the answer, but as an example of the kind of thing we could do is give any young girl between the ages of 13-18 $100 at the end of the year if they are not pregnant and have not had a baby within the past year. It would be a lot cheaper than supporting a child until it is 18 years old. I am sure we can come up with other and better ideas.

Another thing we could do is change the abstinence only approach to sex education and provide free contraception to students who are sexually active. I agree students should not have sex, but the fact is that they do have sex. Through education and contraception we may be able to prevent many unwanted pregnancies, thereby keeping them off the welfare rolls. Also, instead of having cut off points for welfare and food stamps, we need to find a way of weaning recipients off these programs. I’ve heard of people not taking jobs or accepting raises because they would lose money by doing so.

I feel sure if we could get our government, business and civic leaders to get their heads together, we could come up with a better way of handling the welfare problem.

Dennis Thompson

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